CBS had already made some changes for its inaugural Thursday night football broadcast in the wake of the Ray Rice mess, axing a musical "high-energy" intro featuring Rihanna and cutting a "comedic segment." SportsBusiness Daily reports that things went even further, with CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus instructing his on-air talent to avoid going in on individual figures—mostly executives:
While commentators at other networks have called on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to resign for his role in the Rice story, McManus said he gave instructions to his on-air talent not to personally call out "individuals involved in the story, whether it be team ownership, whether it be NFL management." He said, "I don't think in this half-hour of programming that's our job to do."
He said on-air talent was instead encouraged to "express opinions about the situation, to express opinions about domestic abuse, to express opinions on how the NFL has handled this."
Instead, CBS had Scott Pelley and Norah O'Donnell from its news division as part of the broadcast, letting them do the heavy lifting on a story that goes well beyond the sports world (and one that we probably shouldn't look to our football talking heads on anyway).